Initial planning stage:
Sit down either with everyone concerned (or on your own if that’s best) and think about the event, function, or party that you are planning. Always have in-mind the outcome that you would like to see. Begin to outline a plan envisioning everyone that will be attending or involved.
Write it down:
The next step is for you to write (or use an ipad or a pc) all of the ideas and requirements that come to mind. Always try and allow yourself the opportunity to see the best overall outcome for the event. A few initial pointers are: how many attendees and guests will there be? do you require catering or a drinks service? will suitable furniture be needed, and if so how many chairs or tables? Invitations, how will the event attendees be invited? Will it be by a posted invite, an email, or another method?
Go over your list again:
After you have noted or written down all of the ideas and requirements, go through your list again and select the best and most important ones.
Start to formulate your plan:
With each of your ideas and requirements you can now start to draw-up a plan, this can allow you to see how each idea or though can be brought to life. If needed discuss things with work colleagues, family members and anyone else concerned. You can go online, read books, browse through suppliers and service providers literature and get information to make it happen.
Event planner board:
At some point you may find it useful to use a planner board, but this is purely down to your personal preference. Having a “story” board with the event timings and planning needs can be a real bonus over just having a paper file or two, it allows you to see at a glance how things are progressing with the event organisation and planning. On your planning board you can list equipment and products that you need to enquire or order, when you need to order them, as well as where to order them from. You could even cut-out photographs of key products and services and attach them in the relevant place on your planner board.
Prepare your budget:
If you have your suppliers costing’s to-hand you can make a start at determining the perspective cost of the event. Try and include everything you can think of to make the costing exercise as realistic as possible.
A few ideas are to include: the rental cost of any venue place whether it is a space in a conference or exhibition centre, or maybe a particular hotels function room. Are you wanting to hire a marquee or a suitable party tent? For a family garden party will you be needing a commercial sized barbeque or other item of outdoor catering equipment, maybe a jacket potato oven or a simple electric tea urn? Are you thinking of the hire of a hot tub? Or is the event a little more formal, perhaps a corporate hospitality party or a special occasion such as your wedding? With these two latter types of event quality and levels of service are paramount. All of these factors and requirements can vary the budget value - both downwards as well as upwards.
Drinks and food can be a large cost addition to any type of event, make sure when preparing your budget that you don’t under estimate the cost of this.
Go over your event timeline:
When planning an event this is where things can go wrong, and it’s important to really take hold of this part of the event planning stage to try and get everything in a date and time order. You should consider (and in no particular order here):
* When is the event to be held? Is there a firm date?
* Where and at what venue place? When does the venue need to be booked? Does it clash with any other event - the Tour De Yorkshire?
* Invites, when do they need to be received by? How will they be sent out?
* Equipment suppliers - when do you need to order equipment for your event such as catering equipment? Any items of furniture, audio-visual equipment, vehicles including wedding cars, funeral cars, limo’s, flowers or wedding favours, the all essential food and drinks, crockery, cutlery, table cloths and table linen, all of these items of equipment and much more may need to be ordered on a timed basis.
Place the orders:
Once everything has been thought of, written down, re-thought, and budgeted for - now is the time to take the plunge and place the relevant orders. If the event is a really large one or one which has required really detailed planning (perhaps a large corporate hospitality event, an exhibition, or a wedding) you may be able to delegate some of the ordering and procurement to work colleagues, close friends, or other family members, alternatively it may be a job that you wish to manage all on your own.
Create a check list:
Having an event check list is very important, and can save you hours of time as well as stress when organising an event no matter how small or large. Even a simple children’s party can become stressful if things have not been planned and organised. Create a check list that will work with your timeline. List all of the equipment and items connected with the event and check them off as they are finished.
Monitoring as you get close to your event date:
How often and when you do this is determined by not only how big the event is, but what type of event it is too. An all important business or fund raising event won’t leave much room for error, imagine a business seminar or a product launch party going wrong? The outcome will be far worse than a family get-together party going wrong where things won’t seem as important. So it’s recommended that you spend time to monitor things as you approach your event date, and if anything is amiss or needs chasing - you will still have time to do it without it spoiling the big event day.
Make sure your equipment suppliers deadlines are on target, this may include making sure that the right number of items of furniture you have chosen to hire are reserved for you - and are being delivered to the right venue place. Check that the hot-tub that you are renting will fit into your garden, make sure the marquee hire company knows exactly where to erect and site the marquee, finalise guest numbers with caterers, the hotels catering manager, or anyone else that needs to know.
Go back over your check list:
Without sounding as if this is overkill, your check list can really help you to plan, organise, and host a great event. Make sure that everything on it is checked off and that nothing has been missed.
If you delegated some of the equipment ordering tasks to other people, make sure it has been done, don’t risk a single product or service from slipping through because of someone else's mistake. The golden rule here is to check, double check, and check again - make sure the furniture has been ordered, the flowers, food, drinks, photographer, the all important hotel or other venue place, the mobile DJ, taxi’s or wedding cars, maybe a honeymoon holiday? Have you checked on the red-carpet or rope and post barriers? Beauty and hair stylist? - Or even a public speaker?
If anything has been missed off, it should stand-out clearly on your check list.
The event date is here
Timing and arrival:
Hopefully everything will be in order and in-place for the event. Unless it is your big day, try and get to the venue place ahead of anyone else and make sure that everything is set up and in-place. Has the furniture hire company set-up the chairs and tables in the right place? Has the hotel laid out the guest cards and seating plan notice? Is the red carpet in-place at the entrance to your event? Are the exhibitors products on display and in the right location? Is the hospitality staff ready for giving out beverages for when your guests arrive, perhaps a glass of bubbly or simply orange juice? If the event is a wedding - are the band ready to start playing? These and lots more final details can be checked are perfect if you arrive a little earlier for your event.
Enjoy the event:
It may now be the time for you to take a break and start to enjoy the event, unless it is one in which you have been appointed as a dedicated event planner. Either way, as long as you stuck to your event timeline and the all important check list, everything will have been done for the event to be a great success. You may have the odd issue here or there, but as long as your suppliers are reliable and have turned up, everything should go totally smoothly.